Wal-Mart Now Offers Checking Accounts

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New banking competitor just entered the market as of today. Wal-Mart is now going to offer checking account services in hopes of regaining their customer base that has left for other low dollar competitors.

The monthly membership fee of $8.95 is waived if customers set up direct deposits of at least $500 a month, something that even consumers with subprime credit scores probably would be able to do. Users also may load cash into their accounts at participating stores or deposit checks remotely by taking photos with their smartphones, officials at the Bentonville, Ark., company said Tuesday. A formal announcement of the new push was to be made Wednesday, according to the companies, which said GoBank would be available in most of Wal-Mart’s nearly 4,300 U.S. locations by late October.

Debit cards should be especially appealing to Wal-Mart’s core customers, many of whom do not have traditional banking accounts, Friedman said. The fact that fewer people are struggling to get by these days makes these individuals crucial to the company, he said.

Elimination of overdraft fees will remove a source of income that is huge for traditional retail banks, which typically charge $34 per balance-busting transaction.

GoBank is designed to decline transactions that exceed an account balance, but sometimes larger purchases slip through, Green Dot spokeswoman Sharon Pope said. When that occurs, the account is frozen until the difference is made up out of subsequent deposits, she said.

You can read the rest here at the L.A. Times

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